Top RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs are designed to facilitate a better educated nursing workforce. The bridge program provides access to the education necessary to advance in the nursing profession.

The program does not bypass the BSN curriculum, but provides a critical bridge to graduate study. The RNto MSN programs allow a DNA prepared nurse to continue her education seamlessly.

Graduates of an RN to MSN bridge program can complete certification to be a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or nurse anesthetist.

Fast facts on RN to MSN programs


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a master’s-prepared nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist is $123,780.

Duration of the program

up to 3 years


  • registered nurse license
  • Minimum one year clinical experience
  • Minimum GPA between 2.75 and 3.0
  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing from an accredited school
  • Candidate interview if applicable
  • GRE if applicable
  • TOEFL if applicable

Top RN to MSN Programs

Each DNA to MSN Bridge program has its own benefits and features, and the program that is best for one potential attendee may not be the right choice for another. In putting together our list of the best programs, we paid careful attention to objective criteria, paying special attention to ensuring that each one is accredited and has proven results for its graduates.

Our selection process considered the following factors:

  • attendance cost

  • Duration of the program

  • Admission requirements

  • Variety of programs available.

  • Ranking according to US News & World Report

  • Additional acknowledgments the program has received

1. Franklin University

Franklin University is an online program that provides a contemporary curriculum delivered by experienced professionals in the field.

Students can finish bridging courses and be on their way to their MSN in 12 weeks. The admission process is agile and hassle-free. Specific programs include tracks in general nursing, adult gerontology primary care, and family nursing.

  • Tuition: $670 per credit

  • Program duration: 16-30 months

  • Accreditation: Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact email: [email protected]

  • Contact phone: (614) 797-4700

  • Online options available? Yes

2. Baker University

Baker University allows the graduate to progress at their own pace and shortens the time to graduation. This program has start times in January and August.

All coursework is done online and internships are done in your community, so you can earn your degree where you live and work. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA.

  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (bridge courses only require additional fees)

  • Program duration: 15-30 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact Email: [email protected]

  • Contact phone: 785.594.6451

  • Online options available? Yes

3. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS)

The online bridging program at MCPHS builds on students’ DNA so they can seamlessly transition to graduate study. This allows the student to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner without first earning a bachelor’s degree.

The program is designed to meet the needs of busy students with a largely online curriculum with four on-campus meetings. A personal statement is required as part of the admission process.

  • Tuition: Online tuition is calculated at a cost-per-credit rate based on the program you choose and the number of credits you register for.

  • Program duration: 24 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 1

  • Contact email: [email protected]

  • Contact phone: (800)225-5506

  • Online options available? Yes

4. University of Mary

The University of Mary offers an online DNA for MSN with a focus in Nursing Leadership and Management. This degree program allows students to advance their careers while continuing to work full time.

This program is best for nurses seeking leadership positions, unit managers, care coordinators, and more.

  • Tuition: $460 per credit

  • Program duration: up to 20 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact email: [email protected]

  • Online options available? Yes

5. University of Mississippi

The RN to MSN program at the University of Mississippi offers a flexible study plan. There are six predominantly online options to choose from, including nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and administration.

  • Tuition: $525 per credit

  • Program duration: Varies according to the chosen program

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 15

  • Contact email: 601-984-1000

  • Contact phone: [email protected]

  • Online options available? Yes

6. La Salle University

The RN to MSN Bridge Program at LaSalle University provides students with a solid foundation to build a professional nursing career. Once accepted into the program, students will be required to complete four undergraduate courses.

  • Tuition: $905 per hour (additional college and university fees)

  • Program duration: 24-36 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 1

  • Contact email: [email protected]

  • Contact phone: (215)951-1322

  • Online options available? Yes

7. Wilkes University

The RN to MSN Bridge program at Wilkes University is fully online with three concentrations in family nursing, adult gerontology primary care, and psychiatric/mental health.

Wilkes University offers attractive clinical placement services that prepare students for success in their future practice.

  • Tuition: $728 per credit hour

  • Program duration: 36 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: May 1

  • Contact phone: (888) 413-5633

  • Online options available? Yes

8. Aspen University

The RN to MSN Bridge Program is an affordable way for RNs to go back to school and expand their career opportunities. This liberal arts foundation prepares nurses for leadership positions in education, management, and clinical practice.

  • Tuition: monthly payment plan $325/month (0% interest)

  • Program duration: 24-32 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact Information: (800) 373-7814

  • Online options available? Yes

9.Herzing University

The RN to MSN program at Herzing College offers 100% online courses. Herzing Everywhere Classroom offers learning on your schedule and at your own pace from experienced teachers.

  • Tuition: The Tuition Wizard is used to determine cost based on start date, credit hours, and program.

  • Program duration: 24-32 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact phone number: 800-596-0724

  • Online options available? Yes

10. University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas Arlington Online RN to MSN program offers two quick options for nurses who want to jump directly into a master’s degree program.

With flexible online courses and expert instructors, students will qualify for the National Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam or be prepared to lead the next generation of professional nurses as nurse educators or nurse administrators.

  • Tuition: $362 per credit

  • Program duration: up to 36 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Ongoing

  • Contact phone: (866) 489-2810

  • Online options available? Yes

Types of RN to MSN Bridge Programs

on campus

On-campus DNA to MSN programs will require you to attend in-person classes with your cohort along with clinical experiences. While many students prefer this format, it requires adhering to a specific class schedule. While this format provides the best opportunity for networking, leveraging a strong support system, and ensuring you fully understand the course material, it also makes sticking to a work schedule or meeting family responsibilities more challenging.


Online RN to MSN programs are offered through a learning management system in which the student must log in regularly to access lectures and assignments. It also allows students to communicate with teachers and peers.


A hybrid RN to MSN bridge program requires students to participate both online and in person. Students may be required to attend class in person on certain days and participate in other online course requirements.

RN to MSN Program Overview

Admission requirements

  • Active, lien-free RN license

  • Completed school application with appropriate fee

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Original mission statement or personal essay

  • Official transcripts sent to the school.

  • prerequisite courses

  • Three personal letters of recommendation, with at least one from a current supervisor

  • An in-person or phone interview may be required

  • Additional tests may be required for international students.

Duration of the program

Program length for most DNA to MSN programs is up to 36 months. If the program is completed part-time, it may take longer to complete.

Program cost

The program cost for DNA to MSN programs varies significantly from institution to institution. Students should take the time to compare different programs to determine which tuition plan best meets their financial needs. Variables include,

  • program reputation

  • Faculty quality

  • Number of specialized tracks offered

  • The program is offered by a public or private institution.

  • Online vs. Hybrid vs. In-Person Instruction

  • Full-time or part-time support


Students in the DNA to MSN Bridge program must first take courses at the undergraduate level.

These courses include physical assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology along with other courses as determined by the institution. Once the student transitions to the graduate program, she will determine which MSN program option she prefers to pursue.

Other classes include:

  • Community Health Nursing

  • advanced pharmacology

  • Advanced Pathophysiology

  • Advanced Physical Assessment

  • The evidence is based on practice

  • professional practice

  • Health Policy and Promotion

  • Global and population health

  • Research

  • Leadership and Management in Advanced Practice

Frequently Asked Questions about DNA to MSN Bridge Programs

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